This essay explores the figure of invocation across the philosophical and rhetorical traditions in order better to understand its role in symbolic life. From Augustine to Quintilian, and from Lyotard to Lacan, it argues that a rhetorical notion of invocation must extend itself beyond the mere dimension of the call. Exhuming an overlooked definition from Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory, it proposes that invocation should be reconceptualized in a way that emphasizes its aversus. The consequence is that an invocatory rhetorical project—indeed, the device itself—insists against the metaphysics of the Other. Invoking Quintilian, it argues for a redefinition on the basis of invocation’s particularity as a figure, its polemic, and its publicity.

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